When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Tony Pollard in the fourth round of this year’s NFL draft, the former Memphis standout didn’t know exactly what role he would have with the team with two-time rushing champ Ezekiel Elliott holding down the top spot on the depth chart.
Now fast forward a few months and the Cowboys are just over a week away from their first game and Pollard is penciled in as the team’s top back as Elliott’s holdout for a long-term deal has spanned all of training camp and beyond.
Luckily, Pollard says he’s ready to take on the lead back workload if it comes to that.
“It’s not what I expected coming into this situation, but I always prepare, being ready for whatever,” Pollard told The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “Since this situation did happen, the way I prepared, I guess I was just ready for it. I’m just going to continue to make the most of it.
“I’m just coming in being the best back I can be, doing whatever the team needs me to do,” Pollard added.
It’s still uncertain if Pollard — as 6-foot, 215 pounds — can take on the full compliment of carries that comes with the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. So far in the preseason he’s rushed 15 times for 84 yards and a touchdown, which included an impressive performance in Hawaii that left his owner Jerry Jones saying, “Zeke who?”
While at Memphis, Pollard had 1,292 receiving yards, 941 rushing yards and 25 all-purpose touchdowns as a wide receiver, running back and kick returner.
Ezekiel Elliott Says He Wants to be a ‘Cowboy For Life’
Elliott has mostly been quiet since his holdout began, the only statements from the running back coming from his agent or various sources.
However, the running back broke his silence in an interview with Maxim, saying he wants to be with the team “for life,” but also mentioning that Cowboy great and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith even went on to play for another franchise.
“I love playing for the Dallas Cowboys, I love the organization, my teammates. I do want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life and hopefully that’s a possibility,” Elliott said. “But even Emmitt Smith, the greatest running back ever, ended up going to play a couple of years for another organization. So it’s just the nature of the game, but I want to be a Dallas Cowboy for as long as I can.”
Ezekiel Elliott Contract Status & Stats
Both Jerry and Stephen Jones have said their “optimistic” that a deal can get done to have Elliott on the field in Week 1, but there hasn’t been a ton of movement on the negotiation from reported.
“We don’t have but one contract that has to get done to play. I’m optimistic that we can get Zeke’s deal done,” Jerry Jones said. “But we’re gonna play football one way or the other.”
Last year, Elliott had a monster workload, with 304 rushes — 43 more than any other player — to go with 77 catches, collecting 2,001 yards from scrimmage. He’s led the league in rushing in two of his three seasons, including last year when he racked up 1,434 yards.